An ethological definition of animal welfare with special emphasis on pig behaviour


Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate

Previous research has shown that pre-parturient primiparous pigs (gilts) housed in behaviourally restrictive farrowing crates without straw redirect their nest-building behaviour to non-manipulable substrates such as the bars of the crate. These gilts also show elevated plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, particularly around the peak of nest-building activity, when compared to gilts in […]

Economic evaluation of high welfare indoor farrowing systems for pigs

New livestock housing systems designed to improve animal welfare will only see large-scale commercial adoption if they improve profitability, or are at least cost neutral to the farm business. Economic evaluation of new system developments is therefore essential to determine their effect on cost of production and hence the extent of any market premium necessary […]

The effects of the light regimen imposed during lactation on the performance and behaviour of sows and their litters

The objective of the present study was to highlight the possible effects of an extended photoperiod throughout lactation on the performance and behaviour of sows and their piglets. Sows were randomly assigned to two light regimens: (1) standard (n = 12) consisting of 8 h of light (0700–1500) daily from day 111 of gestation until […]

The effect of ketoprofen on post-partum behaviour in sows

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled trial was conducted in order to estimate pain-related behavioural changes of sows in early lactation. Ketoprofen (KET) was used (3 mg/kg BW) intramuscularly for three consecutive days post-partum (p.p.) on 19 sows. Nineteen sows were used as a control group and they received sodium chloride as placebo (PLAC). All 38 […]

The influence of neonatal environment on piglet play behaviour and post-weaning social and cognitive development

Research has shown that the domestic pig is highly playful throughout its development and that play is an important aspect of social and cognitive development. Therefore, the neonatal environment is fundamental to successful stimulation of play in neonatal pigs, which could have indirect and direct socio-cognitive effects on pigs post-weaning and therefore influence social interactions […]

A survey of sow management at farrowing in the UK

Farrowing is an important period in pig production, with sow health and piglet mortality representing a welfare issue and an economic loss. Sow health and welfare is critical for piglet survival and good management can improve welfare and productivity. This study investigated the management of sows around farrowing and attitudes of UK pig farmers towards […]